After being accused of not being a “real fan” a few times, I have given it some thought in recent weeks.

A “real fan” seems to be someone whose support is unwavering and consistent regardless of the shenanigans of owners, managers, shareholders. Their support remains blindly positive regardless of the actions of the many, many shysters, hucksters, ingrates, fuckwits and ne’er-do-wells that this great club has welcomed into its boardroom and management structure.

I have followed this club for over 50 years.

As a thirteen year old I would get the train from Stevenage and travel into London to watch the games. To stand on concrete steps, protected by steel railings, getting rained on, snowed on, shouting myself hoarse in support of Moore, Bonds, Lampard, Robson, Sissons et al. Close enough to see them sweat.

I put up with being herded like cattle, but treated far less respectfully than cattle would be. I have been insulted. Spat at. Pushed, shoved and hit. Sometimes not even by the police. I have endured ridicule and sympathy, following a team whose performances seem to oscillate between disaster and calamity. I have saved my money as a kid and bought shirts. Scarves. Hats. Rattles (yeah, I am that old).

And I been rewarded with shite.

For the entire 50 years, with a very few transitory peaks of delirium, 99.5% of my time following this club has been a catalogue of unmitigated, undiluted, shit.

I have watched us capitulate to minor league opposition countless times. I have seen us flog players who go on to greatness elsewhere. I have seen us flog the family silver. I have seen us embarrassed by our peers. I have watched, powerless, as manager after manager made decisions which – even for someone like me with far more love of the game than technical knowledge – would make me want to put my head in a vice to ease the pain.

And yet I have stuck with it.

Not for success. No West Ham fan ever supported this club for the glory. There simply ain’t any.

Maybe it is just habit. I would love to think it is pure loyalty. Perhaps, in the deepest recesses of my little head, I am labouring under the delusion that one day the club will repay these decades of loyal support with some astute management or – god forbid – style.

But in all those years, through all that disappointment and frustration, I have never felt the way I do now.

It’s got nothing to do with results.

I don’t care about results. And I would suggest that no West Ham fan really does. Not really. If you want results, you go with Chelsea or Arsenal or one of the Manchester clubs. West Ham are not on the list. So if you support West Ham, de-facto, you can’t really care a lot about winning.

No, this is about the club as an entity. Its philosophy. Its DNA. And it is this which has been betrayed. Shat on. Dragged through the crap until it is no longer even discernible. We are no longer the Academy of Football. We are no longer everyone’s second favourite club. We are no longer professional. Or respected. We are a joke. A laughing stock. A snidey little two bob outfit run like a market stall by two old market traders using a reality TV star as the acceptable face of business front.

Our entire raison d’etre has been corrupted to a point where, personally, I do not think it can be recovered.

We sold our souls.

The Icelandic affair, with the global financial meltdown that followed, scared many into believing that the club would disappear. Forever.

We allowed a pair of shysters, with a clearly documented history of asset stripping, to convince most of us they were our saviours. That they were the only game in town. And we bought them hook, line and sinker.

I didn’t believe it then. I don’t believe it now.

But whatever, we allowed them in. We rolled over like grateful lap dogs.

And they have spent their short years here systematically ripping the fuck out of this club.

We went from a club with 50m of debt and our own stadium, to being a club with 50m of debt in a rented athletics ground.

We went from a club with a team of second-tier players with some desire to play for the shirt, flirting with relegation, to a team of second tier mercenaries, willing to play only when it fucking suits, flirting with relegation.

Not only this.

We have allowed our expectations to be manipulated downwards so far it makes me ashamed.

I have never witnessed West Ham fans so grateful for such tiny crumbs.

This forum was full to the brim of posters welcoming a failure of a manager, whose approach is clearly aimed at survival, whose idea of success is not getting fired, who was employed because he was cheap. Because nobody else wanted him.

A manager who is so clearly bonused and targeted on Prem survival alone that he effectively gives up on the FA cup without a squeak. And seems happy to admit it.

We have got to the point where we buy a 26 year old bloke from Preston North End, and then treat him like he’s our saviour. I’m not having a go at the lad. He seems to have a good attitude, and I hope he is a roaring success. What I am saying is that THIS is now the level of our expectation. That we see THIS as normal. As a positive outcome. We are that demoralised. Dispirited. Dejected. We are the beaten half of an abusive relationship. To the degree that we even assume that our failures are partially our fault. That we fail because we have not supported fervently enough. Or loudly enough.

Have we not got the wrong end of the lever? Are not the team supposed to give us a reason to cheer? Is it not incumbent on them to deserve our support in the first place? And yet we, as fans, can be criticised for not “motivating” the players. Fuck that. Their job is to motivate us.

We have become the butt of all problems. Whatever shit happens, it’s probably our fault.

And the sum total of our response?

A few forums who appear happy to toe the club line in return for a seat on the rug by the fire and an occasional bonio chucked their way. NOT this one I hasten to add.

And a pressure group asking for better toilets. I don’t wish to be disrespectful of a bunch of fans with the same or more history with the club than myself, and I do admire that they are trying to do something. But it does feel like arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Since the arrival of Gold and Sullivan, throughout their appalling tenure, culminating in the appointment of a failed manager with nothing to lose, employed simply because he is cheap, I have been critical. And called plastic. Not a “real fan”.

And it’s right. I admit I probably am.

Because, I don’t see why I should have to put up with this kind of fucking shit without comment or complaint.

I don’t see why I should shut up, tug my forelock and be grateful.

Why should we sit back, powerless, waiting for Sullivan to put his kid in charge of the family business because he has spent a week in every department so now knows the club inside out.

No. They can fucking fuck the fuck off.

They have taken my support of this club – always a difficult prospect, always pretty one-sided – and made it nigh on impossible. These people rip the piss out of all of us, and we are supposed to say thank you.

I hate what they stand for. Always have, always will. I hate their attitude. Their approach. Their strategy. Their lies. Their bullshit. Their manipulation. Their pathetic attempts at ingratiating themselves. Their embarrassing attempts at being “clever” and pulling the wool over our eyes.

My greatest wish now is that I am still interested , and alive, when they fuck off from this club forever.

I hope we get relegated. I really do.

I’ve witnessed it before. And will do again. It’s not the end of the world.

And I think there is a strong chance we will be. We are, as we have become used to, reliant on other clubs being worse, rather than us being masters of our own destiny. So it’s a lottery.

And if we are, I will welcome it.

Because this board seem happy to stay here, spending a few bob here and a few bob there, talking like Ambramovich but spending like a benefits claimant.

They will be the end of this club.

Fuck the board. Fuck the manager. Love the team.

-By Frogiron from Hammers chat Forum

Click here to read other peoples view and to leave your comments .

Jon Pope

By Jon Pope

Use to sit in the BML for 10 years, been a West Ham fan all my life, and my great grandfather was a founder member of the TIW. I also help run the Hammer Chat website.

3 thought on “View of a Plastic Fan – By Frogiron”
  1. I can’t say that I disagree with one word mate in fact it’s exactly what I have always thought of the dodgy Dave’s and Brady
    The sooner they have gone the better

  2. I’m much the same tbh. I relate to it completely. I first started going to Upton park in the seventies, almost fifty years ago. I’ve seen what were great times for a short period from 74 – 87 or so, going to cup finals and Europe, even a European final! But yes, there’s been more shitty times than good times. The last couple of seasons really take the bloody biscuit though don’t they? Sullivan and Gold asset stripping the club I love and taking the Michael in loads of ways! Yes, the march and the protests highlight it but the only way it will change really is when Sullivan tires of exploiting the club. Can’t see it happening any time soon I’m afraid.

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